Society for Vascular Surgery Wound, Ischemia, foot Infection (WIfI) score correlates with the intensity of multimodal limb treatment and patient-centered outcomes in patients with threatened limbs managed in a limb preservation center

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The Society for Vascular Surgery Wound, Ischemia, foot Infection (WIfI) system aims to stratify threatened limbs according to their anticipated natural history and estimate the likelihood of benefit from revascularization, but whether it accurately stratifies outcomes in limbs undergoing aggressive treatment for limb salvage is unknown. We investigated whether the WIfI stage correlated with the intensity of limb treatment required and patient-centered outcomes.


We stratified limbs from a prospectively maintained database of consecutive patients referred to a limb preservation center according to WIfI stage (October 2013-May 2015). Comorbidities, multimodal limb treatment, including foot operations and revascularization, and patient-centered outcomes (wound healing, limb salvage, amputation-free survival, maintenance of ambulatory and independent living status, and mortality) were compared among WIfI stages. Multivariate analysis was performed to identify predictors of wound healing and limb salvage.


We identified 280 threatened limbs encompassing all WIfI stages in 257 consecutive patients: stage 1, 48 (17%); stage 2, 67 (24%); stage 3, 64 (23%); stage 4, 83 (30%); and stage 5 (unsalvageable), 18 (6%). Operative foot débridement, minor amputation, and use of revascularization increased with increasing WIfI stage (P ≤ .04). Revascularization was performed in 106 limbs (39%), with equal use of open and endovascular procedures. Over a median follow-up of 209 days (interquartile range, 95, 340) days, 1-year Kaplan-Meier wound healing cumulative incidence was 71%, and the proportion with complete wound healing decreased with increasing WIfI stage. Major amputation was required in 26 stage 1 to 4 limbs (10%). Increasing WIfI stage was associated with decreased 1-year Kaplan-Meier limb salvage (stage 1: 96%, stage 2: 84%, stage 3: 90%, and stage 4: 78%; P = .003) and amputation-free survival (P = .006). Stage 4 WIfI independently predicted amputation (hazard ratio, 12; 95% confidence interval, 1.6-94). Amputation rates in patients with severe Ischemia grade 3 were lower in those who underwent revascularization than in those who did not (14% vs 41%; P = .01) Ambulatory and independent living status at follow-up deteriorated significantly from baseline in stage 4 but not stage 1 to 3 patients. Mortality was not different between WIfI stages.


In patients treated aggressively for limb salvage, WIfI stage correlated with intensity of multimodal limb treatment and with limb salvage and patient-centered outcomes at 1 year. Revascularization improved limb salvage in severe ischemia. These data support the Society for Vascular Surgery WIfI system as a powerful tool to risk-stratify patients with threatened limbs and guide treatment.

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